Just in case you don’t know, vitiligo is a skin condition which leads to white patches on the skin and is not contagious. But therapists at Four Fountains Spa were ill-informed about the condition and denied service to 55-year-old Jacqui who had visited the spa in their Koregaon Park, Pune branch, reports Pune Mirror.
As soon as she entered, she was welcomed by the staff and when she lied down for the massage, the therapist saw the patches on her skin and left the room. She didn’t come for the next 15 minutes which prompted her to speak to the manager. The manager informed her that the therapist refused to give her a massage because of her skin condition. Humiliated and annoyed, she left.
“All I wanted was some relaxation on that day. It was my first visit to this spa and I sought a massage. The staff were welcoming initially and I was soon lying back, awaiting a therapist to attend to me. When she came in, she examined the white patches on my hands and legs after which she left the room. I remained lying there, waiting for her to return. When there was no sign of her for over 15 minutes, I approached the management to get an explanation. Their response shocked me,” she told Pune Mirror.
Reportedly, the woman has been living with the condition for over 40 years now and she has never faced such an insult before, except during her school days. “I was under the impression that the society has since become well aware of the problem and vitiligo patients like me find acceptance at public places. So, this came as a rude revelation,” Jacqui was quoted as saying.
When she visited her daughter in Mumbai during Ganpati visarjan, she reportedly took up the matter with the management and Sunil Rao, director of Four Fountains Spa told Pune Mirror, “It was a mistake on our part. We are tendering an unconditional apology to our guest. We have a standard operating procedure in place, where we have given training to our therapists to provide therapy to guests having skin issues that are not infectious. We have taken strict disciplinary action against the therapist involved. We have also instructed managers to carry out re-training of all the teams across our spas to avoid such faux pas in future.”
However, Jacqui herself hasn’t received any apology from the spa chain.
“I am a strong person. I can face humiliation and rise above it. But not everybody can stomach and even resort to drastic action. I feel that it is the responsibility of the society to make sure that people suffering ailments such as mine don’t feel ostracised and humiliated,” she right said.